Print Edition: March 11, 2015
A bleaching agent was on fire at the docks on Wednesday — the same night I just happened to go see Bleachers at the Rio. This show had been originally scheduled for December, but after members of the band got sick, it was cancelled and later rescheduled.
After seeing Joshua Radin in the same venue just this past Saturday, I remembered that the seats up on the balcony were uncomfortable, so I sat formed in the front bottom this time. A crowd of people had created a pseudo-mosh pit at the front of the theatre. They greeted the opening bands Joywave and Night Terrors of 1927 with lukewarm head nods, and solidifying Vancouver’s stand-off reputation. No matter how many guitar solos or high-performance percussion freakouts, the audience was almost reluctant to applause, clapping almost politely. The lead singer of Night Terrors even jumped down into the audience at one point, and tried to get the energy going, but only a few were roused.
Bleachers opened with “Wild Heart,” the first single from their album Strange Desire, and put on a pretty upbeat show. The energy in the room went from chill to soaring as the night went on. Jack Antonoff, the guitarist from fun., led the band through several of their popular singles, including “Shadow” and “Rollercoaster.” He enlisted the audience to join in on the lyrics in some places, keeping percussion with clapping, and even taught us a tune to hum in the background.
Antonoff continued to rock out and play to the crowd, conversing with people at the front, including a girl who had just recently broke up with her boyfriend, someone with a flirty sign, and someone with a handful of rubber ducks (Jack is nicknamed “Ducky”). The feel-good music was enough to make anyone want to throw their arms up and rock out, as I did most of the time.
Bleachers closed with “Rollercoaster,” and as the lights went dark the audience began to hum the tune Antonoff had taught them as a means of calling him back for an encore. Nobody could have possibly withstood the call of over 600 people humming the same tune in unison. Bleachers returned for a finale with their infectious single, “I Wanna Get Better.”